Tuesday, April 12, 2016

How Our Family of Eight Does Chores

I have people ask all the time how we do our chores or ho we get the laundry tackled.  First of all I'd like to say, we have a decent system that is working for us at this time.  However, I am not saying things don't fall apart every now and then.  Please, don't assume I have this down and never feel like I am drowning in my "to do" list.  Because I don't and I often do feel like I am drowning.  In fact, just recently I felt like I had so much to do and it could not all be done even if I delegated what I could.  Then this post showed up in my blog roll and I remembered that I am a list maker and realized that I have not been doing that lately.  That's just the reminder I needed.  I made my list and got everything that had an immediate deadline done over the weekend.  Often times lists are the answer.  I love lists.

So back to the point of this post...chores.

Our Chore Chart

Here is my chore list that is posted with magnets on the refrigerator.  I used an old calendar holder to hold the paper I printed off the computer.  The magnets are from our alphabet set and each one belongs to the corresponding child whose name begins with that letter.  We used to use random magnets that each child knew which one belonged to him/her.  Whatever works, right?

Brian added a quote from Lord of the Rings by Old Gaffer.  "It's the job that's never started as takes longest to finish."

I made three columns because I have three kids that are old enough for this level of chores.  Drew's (4 yrs old) chores involve helping with some of these tasks and setting and clearing the table right now.  Judah's (2 yrs old) chores involve helping with some of these tasks and putting dirty diapers in the diaper genie.

Pegging Chores

I also pegged the chores to the three meals so that they can become a part of their mealtime habits.  This has worked pretty well.  However, breakfast and lunch chores are not as frequently performed without reminders.  Dinner chores seem to be most effectively accomplishing the task of doing the chores without being told.  That's my major goal because all too often I was realizing that I mean to tell someone to do something and forgot or would just do it myself because the kids were playing nicely at the time I thought of it.  Also, one particular child was being given more work because she was the one that was always around when everyone else quickly caught on to go play somewhere else so mom won't ask you to do more work.

The Rotation

The kids are responsible for keeping up with the rotation of the duties.  They move everybody's magnet to the right every morning.

Kinds of Chores (for 6 year olds and older)

First about the ages, I think adding them to the rotation at 6 years old is reasonable.  However, it depends on the child and how much time you want to spend training them in these tasks.  Obviously, a five year old boy can help with rinsing and loading dishes, but can't be trusted or able to do breakable or heavy items.  I remember when Isaac first started on these types of chores, whatever chore he had that day, I also had that day.  We had to do them side by side for a long time and then one day he could do it.  Maybe not as well as the girls, but it got done.  By 7 years old, all of these should be doable as long as you have taken the time to teach them and work alongside them.  I am hoping that the older kids can train the younger ones at some point, but for now I do it.

For Laundry Duty, they have to sort a basket collected from hampers in the house in the morning.  Hannah knows how to start a load, so I have her do that sometimes if it is her day.  Usually, I try to get down in the morning to start a load of laundry and attend to any stains.  Then at lunch, they have to move the load over to the dryer and hang up what needs to be hung.  After dinner, they have to wipe down the table and fold and put away that load and anything dry on the line,  When I say put away, I mean they have to take it to the appropriate room and everyone puts away their own clean clothes.  If for some reason there is not clothes to fold (which is rare here) they are to sweep the dining room floor instead.

For Floor Duty, they are to change cat litter and clean their own room at breakfast time (before or after).  At lunchtime, they are to pick up toys and tidy up the main living areas.  Judah and Drew are supposed to help at least a little bit with this if I haven't already had them clean up after themselves.  The point is mainly that the baby's toys get cleaned up and messes that are overwhelming to the toddlers and preschoolers are not left to little people alone.  This is mildly controversial because the child on floor duty is cleaning up after someone else who should have known better to clean up after themselves from time to time.  However, Brian and I think that since the laundry person is cleaning everyone's laundry and the dish person is cleaning all dishes that helped make everyone's meal that it is fair.  After dinner, the same job is repeated because...well...we have a lot of kids and it is a messy business.

For Dish Duty, they are to unload the dishwasher (it usually has to be run every evening) and load few remaining dishes in sink.  They are supposed to wipe and clear the counters, but this is one that often gets overlooked, especially in the morning.  After lunch, they are to load dishes and put away dishes on the drying mat.  I should say here that if the dishwasher has dirty dishes in it, the oldest three are supposed to rinse and load their own dishes.  If it has clean dishes in it, then they only have to rinse their dishes.  This is just a good habit and keeps the job from being overwhelming since we make a lot of dirty dishes everyday.  After dinner, it's load dishes again, hand wash what doesn't fit, and run the dishwasher.  Again they are suppose to help wipe the counters, but Hannah's usually the only one who remembers or gets to it before I just do it.  I hate dirty counters.

I promise, Hannah's not the only one who does chores around here.  She just happen to be the one caught on camera doing it.
 Each "Duty" has a little sibling that goes along with it.  I wrote an entire post on that here.

All this is to say that I rarely do dishes, pick up toys off the floor, or sort and fold laundry anymore.  This is where it comes in handy to have lots of kids.  If I only had a couple, I'd still being doing all those things sometimes because you can't make two kids do all that.  It would just take up too much time.  Although, I suppose there would be less to do with a smaller family.  So maybe that's invalid.  Either way, this is just how we roll.

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